US Soldier Admits Killing
Unarmed Afghans For Sport
By Paul Harris
March 22, 2015 "ICH"
An American soldier has pleaded guilty to
being part of a "kill team" who deliberately
murdered Afghan civilians for sport last
Specialist Jeremy Morlock, 23, told a
military court he had helped to kill three
unarmed Afghans. "The plan was to kill
people, sir," he told an army judge in Fort
Lea, near Seattle, after his plea.
The case has caused
outraged headlines around the world. In a
series of videotaped confessions to
investigators, some of which have been
broadcast on American television, Morlock
detailed how he and other members of his
Stryker brigade set up and faked combat
situations so that they could kill civilians
who posed no threat to them. Four other
soldiers are still to come to trial over the
The case is a PR disaster
for America's military and has been compared
to the notorious incidents of torture that
emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
This week the German magazine Der Spiegel
published three pictures that showed
American soldiers, including Morlock, posing
with the corpse of a young Afghan boy as if
it were a hunting trophy.
Some soldiers apparently
kept body parts of their victims, including
a skull, as souvenirs. In a statement issued
in response to the publication of the photos
the US army apologised to the families of
the dead. "[The photos are] repugnant to us
as human beings and contrary to the
standards and values of the United States
army," the statement said.
Morlock has told
investigators that the murders took place
between January and May last year and were
instigated by an officer in his unit, Staff
Sergeant Calvin Gibbs. He described how
elaborate plans were made to pick out
civilian targets, kill them and then make
their deaths look like they were insurgents.
In his confession Morlock described shooting
a victim as Gibbs tossed a grenade at him.
"We identify a guy. Gibbs makes a comment,
like, you know, you guys wanna wax this guy
or not," Morlock said in the confession.
Morlock now stands to be
sentenced to at least 24 years in jail but
with eligibility for parole after seven
years. That has come about because Morlock
struck a plea bargain that will see a
lighter sentence in return for testifying
against his fellow soldiers.
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